Despite Khamzat Chimaev’s rising stock, Stephen Thompson sees no reason to fight him next.
It was recently reported that Chimaev’s next fight was being planned against Thompson. However, “Wonderboy” wasn’t interested and preferred to face Leon Edwards or Jorge Masvidal instead.
This was later confirmed by UFC president Dana White as well.
Reports circulating that Khamzat Chimaev x Stephen Thompson is done for 11/19. I know that's a fight UFC wanted, but just spoke to @WonderboyMMA who says that fight isn’t a done at all & he isn’t interested. He wants a top-ranked opponent like Leon Edwards or Jorge Masvidal next.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 27, 2020
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Speaking on his YouTube channel, Thompson explained further as to why a Chimaev fight doesn’t do anything for him at the moment.
“No, I’m not fighting him, man. I mean, it just doesn’t make sense for me at this point,” Thompson said. “I’m ranked No. 5 to fight a guy who is unranked? You know what I mean.
“… I fought a lot of guys to get to where I’m at. And a lot of other fighters fought a lot of guys to get where they’re at so I don’t see why it’s okay for him to jump past everybody.”
Thompson and his brother then noted how he had to fight six fighters before he could get his first ranked opponent which was Jake Ellenberger back in 2015.
He was later scheduled to face a top-ranked contender in former champion Johny Hendricks in a fight that was booked because the latter would miss weight against Tyron Woodley. However, Thompson pointed out that at least at that point, he was ranked in the top 10.
Given that Thompson is also 37, it makes little sense for him to fight an unranked opponent especially when he is looking to get back into title contention. Even if Chimaev is 3-0 in the UFC and looks destined for the top.
Thompson returned to the win column at UFC 244 following a dominant unanimous decision victory over Vicente Luque. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for the former title challenger who is now seeking a top-ranked opponent to stake a claim for another title shot.
Edwards or Masvidal certainly make more sense in that context.
You can watch the full Q&A below: